Karachi expressway elicits protests

pakistan's plan of a 25-km elevated expressway in Karachi, linking the city's airport and two ports, has triggered protests in the country. Opponents of the us $350 million project point at financial unviability and a skewed environment impact assessment (eia) report. But the City District Government Karachi (cdgk), the project proponent, argues that the expressway will minimise traffic load. The project will be built by ijm Corporation Berhard, a Malaysian firm.
Credit discard The project would require cdgk to pay Pakistani Rs 1 billion to the Malaysian firm over 20 years. cdgk plans to source this amount through toll tax but experts say the option is not viable.

"If you divide us $350 million with 20 years and again with 365 days, and charge Rs 20 from a car as toll tax, you would need to charge a car every three seconds for the payback. That is extremely far-fetched,' said an architect who did not want to be named. "It will be an additional burden to pay the amount,' he added.

Arif Hasan, Pakistan's leading town planner who vehemently opposes the project, said: "The eia does not deal, in statistical terms, with the impact of the proposed road networks on the traffic patterns along the Shahrah-e-Faisal corridor, the city's artery. The existing road networks consist of three ring roads, signal-free radial roads, the Lyari Expressway and the Northern Bypass. A study on how the proposed expressway will impact the existing road network and traffic pattern is a must.'
EIA, a nice formality Hasan rejects the eia's claims that expressways in South Asian cities have solved traffic problems. "A number of publications by Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, say that such solutions have been expensive, causing considerable environmental and aesthetic degradation and creating immense problems for pedestrians.

Cities like Seoul and Boston are busy demolishing their expressways and flyovers. A number of Latin American cities, like Curitaba and Bogot